Across the United States today, television stations will power down the analog signals that have sent TV shows into homes for six decades.
Friday represents the deadline for the country’s transition to fully digital television broadcasting. Throughout the day, TV stations are switching off analog and in many cases moving to new positions on the channel dial.
Some stations are making the switch early on Friday, timed to their morning newscasts, so that they can field phone calls from confused viewers during normal work hours. Other stations are waiting until the end of the day, sometimes at 11:59 p.m. The staggered timing will amount to a rolling transition across the country.
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On Friday morning, some stations were already indicating that some viewers had been caught off-guard. WAFB, the CBS affiliate in Baton Rouge, switched at 7 a.m. Central time, and an hour later the station reported on Twitter that its call center was “going crazy.”
“Believe it or not, a lot of people saying they didn’t know anything about the switch,” the station said.